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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2013 | Virgin EMI

Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Pitchfork: Best New Music
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Alternative & Indie - Released July 28, 2017 | Columbia

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We’ve been waiting four years for this. After the brilliant Reflektor in 2013, Arcade Fire have returned with Everything Now - their fifth album packed with explosive contrasts. For the occasion, the Canadian-American band surrounded themselves with musical geniuses: Thomas Bengalter from Daft Punk, Steve Mackey from Pulp and Geff Barrow from Portishead. The resulting album is transfigured and multifaceted. The synths are fired up and raring to go, the beats stable and assured. Everything Now is the kind of track that’s made to be performed in a stadium. Signs of Life follows in the footsteps of Blondie, the Cure and the Pet Shop Boys, while Electric Blue crosses over into to the Talking Heads’ territory. Recorded for the first time outside of Montreal, Paris and New Orleans, this 12-track album goes deeper than it’s perceptive and melancholic lyrics - it’s orchestrated by a powerful mix of synth-pop, new wave eighties, disco and even americana (such as in the song Put Your Money on Me). We Don’t Deserve Love provides us with a smooth landing to the journey at the end of the album, in which we find Daniel Lanois on the pedal steel guitar. We know one thing for sure - summer this year will be spent indoors, on the dance floor.
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 16, 2017 | Sony Music CG

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 30, 2017 | Sony Music CG

When Montreal's Arcade Fire released Funeral in 2004, it received the kind of critical and commercial acclaim that most bands spend their entire careers trying to attain. Within a year the group was headlining major festivals and sharing the stage with U2 and New York City's "two Davids" (Bowie and Byrne), all the while amassing a devoted following that descended upon shows like sinners at a tent revival, engaging in the kind of artist appreciation that can easily turn to a false sense of ownership. On their alternately wrecked and defiant follow-up, Neon Bible, one can sense a bit of a Wall being erected (Win Butler's Roger Waters/Bruce Springsteen/Garrison Keillor-style vocal delivery notwithstanding) around the group. If Funeral was the goodbye kiss on the coffin of youth, then Bible is the bitter pint (or pints) after a long day's work. The brooding opener, "Black Mirror," with its sinister "Suffragette City"-inspired groove and murky refrain of "Mirror, Mirror on the wall/Show me where them bombs will fall," sets an immediate world-weary tone that permeates that majority of Neon Bible's Technicolor pages. As expected, those sentiments are amplified with all of the majestic and overwrought power that has divided listeners since the group's ascension to indie rock royalty, but despite a tendency toward midtempo balladry and post-fame cynicism, they're anything but dull. It's the triumphant orchestral remake of live staple "No Cars Go" and the infectious "Keep the Car Running" -- the latter sounds like a 21st century update of John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown Band's "On the Dark Side" -- that will most appeal to Funeral fans, and when the bottom drops out a minute and a half into the pipe organ-led "Intervention" and Butler wails "Who's gonna reset the bone," it's hard not get caught up in all of the dystopian fervor. "Black Wave/Bad Vibrations" and "The Well and the Lighthouse" continue the band's explorations into progressive song structures and lush mini-suites, the thunder-filled "Ocean of Noise" is reminiscent of Bossanova-era Pixies, and the stark (at first) closer "My Body Is a Cage" straddles the sawhorse of earnest desperation and classic rock & roll self-absorption so effortlessly that it demands to be either turned off or all the way up. Neon Bible takes a few spins to digest properly, and like all rich foods (orchestra, harps, and gospel choirs abound), it's as decadent as it is tasty -- theatricality has never been a practice that the collective has shied away from -- but there's no denying the Arcade Fire's singular vision, even when it blurs a little. ~ James Christopher Monger
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Alternative & Indie - Released July 1, 2018 | Sony Music CG

In 2010, Arcade Fire surprised everyone with The Suburbs. This third studio album was released in a Deluxe edition with two previously unreleased tracks: Culture War and Speaking In Tongues. Although the Canadian band caught the attention of audiences in the early 2000s with a slightly dark first album (Funeral), they avoided locking themselves into this macabre atmosphere. The Suburbs offer much different colours, as Win Butler went through his predecessors’ records to get inspired by influences ready to be modernised. With great affection for music rich in instrumentals and an undeniable gift for highlighting different musical phrases, The Suburbs marked a turning point. Arcade Fire matured, without turning to elitist and inaccessible music. Proof that their pop-coloured rock has far surpassed what their early days might have suggested. There is an English quality to their style, in the vein of Paul Weller or David Bowie, but also elements from T-Rex’s glam rock, particularly in the lyrics and the energy Butler brings. Rococo or Ready To Start look at childhood and give credit to what we may have experienced and thought in our younger years… Are Arcade Fire a little nostalgic of the good old days? It’s often what happens when one takes a new maturity leap and looks back to compare the past with the present. This Deluxe edition offers an arranged version of Wasted Hours and a cover of the Talking Heads’ Speaking In Tongues with David Byrne under the influence. An album inspired by the Butler brothers’ youth that will make you want to watch a Spike Jonze short, Scenes From The Suburbs, made for the first version of The Suburbs in 2011. © Clara Bismuth/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 30, 2017 | Sony Music CG

Montreal's Arcade Fire successfully avoided the sophomore slump with 2007's apocalyptic Neon Bible. Heavier and more uncertain than their nearly perfect, darkly optimistic 2004 debut, the album aimed for the nosebleed section and left a red mess. Having already fled the cold comforts of suburbia on Funeral and suffered beneath the weight of the world on Neon Bible, it seems fitting that a band once so consumed with spiritual and social middle-class fury should find peace "under the overpass in the parking lot." If nostalgia is just pain recalled, repaired, and resold, then The Suburbs is its sales manual. Inspired by brothers Win and William Butler's suburban Houston, Texas upbringing, the 16-track record plays out like a long lost summer weekend, with the jaunty but melancholy Kinks/Bowie-esque title cut serving as its bookends. Meticulously paced and conservatively grand, fans looking for the instant gratification of past anthems like "Wake Up" and "Intervention" will find themselves reluctantly defending The Suburbs upon first listen, but anyone who remembers excitedly jumping into a friend's car on a sleepy Friday night armed with heartache, hope, and no agenda knows that patience is key. Multiple spins reveal a work that's as triumphant and soul-slamming as it is sentimental and mature. At its most spirited, like on "Empty Room," "Rococo," "City with No Children," "Half Light II (No Celebration)," "We Used to Wait," and the glorious Régine Chassagne-led "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)," the latter of which threatens to break into Blondie's "Heart of Glass" at any moment, Arcade Fire make the suburbs feel positively electric. Quieter moments reveal a changing of the guard, as Win trades in the Springsteen-isms of Neon Bible for Neil Young on "Wasted Hours," and the ornate rage of Funeral for the simplicity of a line like "Let's go for a drive and see the town tonight/There's nothing to do, but I don't mind when I'm with you," from album highlight "Suburban War." The Suburbs feels like Richard Linklater's Dazed & Confused for the Y generation. It's serious without being preachy, cynical without dissolving into apathy, and whimsical enough to keep both sentiments in line, and of all of their records, it may be the one that ages the best. ~ James Christopher Monger
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 25, 2015 | Arcade Fire Music, LLC

After stunning the mainstream pop machine into a state of huffy, new school e-disbelief by beating out Eminem, Lady Antebellum, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry for the 2011 Album of the year Grammy, Arcade Fire seemed poised for a U2-style international coup, but the Suburbs, despite its stadium-ready sonic grandiosity, was far too homespun and idiosyncratic to infect the masses in the same way as the Joshua Tree or Achtung Baby. Reflektor, the Montreal collective's much anticipated fourth long-player and first double-album, moves the group even further from pop culture sanctification with a seismic yet impenetrable 13-track set (at 75 minutes it’s one minute over standard single disc capacity) that guts the building but leaves the roof intact. Going big was never going to be a problem, especially for a band so well-versed in the art of anthem husbandry, and they're still capable of shaking the rafters, as evidenced by the cool and circuitous, Roxy Music-forged, David Bowie-assisted title cut, the lush, Regine Chassagne-led “It's Never Over (Oh Orpheus),” and the impossibly dense and meaty “We Exist,” but what ultimately keeps Reflektor from sticking the landing is bloat. The stylistic shifts, courtesy of LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy, aren’t nearly as jarring as the turgid and Tiki-colored, almost seven-minute “Here Comes the Night Time,” the six minutes of rewinding tape that serve as the coda for the otherwise lovely “Supersymmetry,” or the unnecessarily drawn-out fountain of white noise that should seamlessly connect the Gary Glittery “Joan of Arc” with the Flaming Lips-ian “Here Comes the Night Time, Pt. 2,” but doesn’t because the songs are on separate discs. Flush with artistic capital, they went on a bender, and in the process lost some of the warmth, jubilation, and capacity for empathy that made their first three efforts so inclusive. Nevertheless, Reflektor is as fascinating as it is frustrating, an oddly compelling miasma of big pop moments and empty sonic vistas that offers up a (full-size) snapshot of a band at its commerical peak, trying to establish eye contact from atop a mountain. ~ James Christopher Monger
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 1, 2017 | Columbia

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 16, 2018 | Columbia

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Alternative & Indie - Released December 8, 2017 | Sony Music CG

As far as debuts go, the Arcade Fire's seven-song introduction to the world will forever be lorded over by its behemoth older sibling, 2004's commercially and critically lauded Funeral. While the hundreds of people who coveted the self-titled EP prior to its 2005 re-release on the ultra-hip Merge label can rest assured that their copies are indeed original, those who are looking for a prequel to the anthemic, end-of-the-world bombast that emanated like a black-box recorder from Funeral are in for a treat. While there's nothing here that matches the goosebump-inducing electricity that runs through "Tunnels" or "Power Out," there are moments -- both musical and lyrical -- that portend the fireworks to come. "Old Flame" starts things off innocently enough with a simple melody tied to the even simpler pangs of new love -- "My mouth is full/Your heart is an apple" -- and "I'm Sleeping in a Submarine" extends that joy with a defiant chorus of "A cage is a cage, is a cage, is a cage!" However, it isn't until the third track that the record begins to take shape -- "No Cars Go," with its driving accordion melody line and unified shouts, sounds like the blueprint for Funeral's "Rebellion (Lies)." Régine Chassagne does little to escape the Björk comparisons on the sparse "Woodlands National Anthem," but her distorted, blood-curdling howls on the pulsing "Headlights Look Like Diamonds" are one of the EP's highlights. By the time the listener arrives at "Vampire/Forest Fire," with its familiar themes of pain both spiritual and familial, it's obvious where the band is headed. Like Broken Social Scene or the Flaming Lips, the Arcade Fire are sometimes earnest to a fault. While each of the seven tracks contained herein are fully realized, they are as unfocused as they are beautiful, resulting in an intangible, dreamlike atmosphere that reduces each cut -- no matter how deep -- down to a mere scratch. ~ James Christopher Monger
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Film Soundtracks - Released March 11, 2019 | Walt Disney Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 16, 2017 | Columbia

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 13, 2017 | Columbia

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 28, 2017 | Columbia

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On their fifth album, Everything Now, Arcade Fire make their first significant stumble, opting more for style over their typical substance. In their search for what's real in an ephemeral and oversaturated society, they've fallen prey to the very gloss they seek to lampoon, resulting in a lack of the emotion that defined their earlier efforts. Also, with lyrics that are a little too on the nose, much of Everything Now ends up being too clever for its own good, which distracts from some otherwise interesting additions to their catalog. Take the two-part "Infinite Content"/"Infinite_Content," a garage rock blast that morphs into an otherwise dreamy, Suburbs-esque moment. As frontman Win Butler repeatedly spits "All your money is already spent/On infinite content!" and "Infinite content/We're infinitely content," listeners might find themselves wearied from the exaggerated repetition, having gotten the point loud and clear long before he's done shouting. The lyrics found on "Creature Comfort" are another good summation of this issue: in an effort to say something meaningful, Arcade Fire simply sound like they're trying too hard. A handful of standouts will no doubt stand the test of time, but unfortunately not enough for a cohesive and fulfilling statement. Thematic flubs aside, the production and sonic directions on Everything Now sound great. The band recruited an enviable team -- including Daft Punk's Thomas Bangalter, Portishead's Geoff Barrow, Pulp's Steve Mackey, and longtime collaborator Markus Dravs -- that infuses a groove and danceability that Arcade Fire first touched upon on Reflektor. On the bright title track, the dramatically funky "Signs of Life," and the glittering "Electric Blue," Everything Now fully embraces the disco spirit. Elsewhere, the band trades the sparkle of the disco ball for visceral throb, like on the urgent "Creature Comfort," the strutting "Good God Damn," and the hypnotizing "Put Your Money on Me," which sounds like Röyksopp remixing LCD Soundsystem. Peppering Everything Now are some potentially divisive experiments -- like the heavy dub of "Peter Pan" and the New Orleans big-band jam of "Chemistry" -- that don't really fit in with the rest of the album. They're interesting experiments outside the band's comfort zone, but distract from the album's flow. Overall, there is just enough on Everything Now to appease fans and attract newcomers with accessible singles, but as an Arcade Fire record, it's unfortunately too inconsistent and ultimately hollow. Arcade Fire sought to make a Big Statement but instead produced one of their least impactful works. ~ Neil Z. Yeung
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 30, 2017 | Columbia

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 20, 2017 | Arcade Fire

Alternative & Indie - Released July 6, 2018 | Columbia

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2013 | Arcade Fire Music, LLC

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 27, 2017 | Arcade Fire

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 27, 2017 | Arcade Fire

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Arcade Fire in the magazine
  • Youth brings some maturity to Arcade Fire
    Youth brings some maturity to Arcade Fire In 2010, Arcade Fire surprised everyone with The Suburbs. This third studio album was released in a Deluxe edition with two previously unreleased tracks: Culture War and Speaking In Tongues.